John McCririck has hit back at TV bosses for dropping him from the new look coverage of Channel 4 racing that begins next January.
In a bitter tirade ‘Big Mac’, as he has become known, says ageism has cost him his job. Judging from his on air appearances of late
I would say it is down to incompetence, or impending senility.
He is an embarrassment to broadcasting and, though I am personally sorry to see Highflyer Productions lose the contract to produce Channel 4 racing, I am relieved that the new production company, IMG, (a former employer of mine), have seen sense and ditched McCririck once and for all.
He may once have attracted a few viewers to the televised sport, for pure novelty value, but those days have long since passed. Now it is all he can do to pronounce the name of a horse or jockey correctly. He has uttered more ludicrous statements in the past year or two than most trainers have had winners.
With my TV hat on (producer for 25 years) I will be posting my own thoughts on the new look presentation team in the coming days. But first, here is the reaction of ‘Big Mac’ to his axing from Channel 4 racing.
I think his comments perfectly represent the character of the man.
John McCririck says:- “Naturally I am devastated at being sacked after covering betting, first on ITV and then Channel 4, for 31 years. It had always been a dream to report from the racecourse betting jungles at Aintree and Ascot.
“According to Channel 4, I’m being sacked after audience research. Yes, I do antagonise people as reactions to being twice in the Celebrity Big Brother house and also on Coach Trip prove. Yet, as Clare Balding, a terrific choice to lead the new young team, said recently, I’ve become the face of racing alongside Frankie Dettori and now of course Clare herself.
“It is so sad that Channel 4 boss Jay Hunt and production chief Carl Hicks, both long-time BBC executives, have again gone down their well-worn path of ageism. Among the 13 slated to be on screen, only Jimbo McGrath is over 50.
“Without any consultation or being asked to change my presentation style, I was only told by Channel 4’s Head Of Sport Jamie Aitchison half an hour before their press release.
“Racing continues to prosper and is a magnificent sport for all ages and classes of society. I trust those now in power, having shown their macho images as all new producers do by getting rid of their most well-known older performer, don’t forget that racing appeals to all generations.”
I will blog about all the changes to the on screen presentation team announced by Channel 4 today. But I am relieved that Tanya Stevenson, so often referred to by McCririck as “the female”, is staying on to deliver her expertise on bookies odds to watching punters.